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Elon Musk is no ordinary man. His eccentric personality, his social awkwardness and his incredible nose for business — which have made him a billionaire — make him an extraordinary person.
Despite his peculiarities, there are thousands of rich people like Musk who could share his same characteristics, such as the second-richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos. However, among the rich, Musk has done one thing that seemed almost forgotten among the American business elite: publicly bad-mouth the establishment and the status quo.
While normally the rich tend to fund think tanks, campaigns or meet with politicians at lavish private parties to lobby—namely Hillary and Bill Clinton with Jeffrey Epstein—Musk openly rails against the political establishment and complains about the Biden administration’s tax plan while other rich hypocritically support it in the hope of not losing their revenue with the government.
Musk’s latest pug came towards Senator—self-proclaimed socialist—Bernie Sanders (D-VT), who suggested in a tweet that “We must demand that the extremely wealthy pay their fair share. Period.” To this statement, the Tesla CEO responded, “I keep forgetting that you’re still alive.”
Musk’s response comes after selling more than US$ 6.9 billion of his stake in Tesla this last week. As a result of the sale of his company’s shares Musk will have to pay a capital gains tax of 23.8%, but in the future, this could go up to 43.8%.
Although Elon Musk has resisted selling Tesla shares, in 2016 he had to do so in order to pay taxes. Unlike companies like Meta (the former Facebook) or Alphabet/Google, Tesla does not have deferral shares, which give founding partners privileges over the company’s decision-making, so selling Tesla stock costs him control over the company.
In a Twitter poll, Musk asked his followers if he should sell 10% of his Tesla stake, to which the public responded positively by 58%. Within the thread, the entrepreneur clarified that he has no cash salary or corporate bonuses, so the only money he would have to pay taxes would be from the sale of shares.
Within his response to Sanders’ tweet, Musk again challenged the Senate saying he could sell more stake if he wanted to.
In the last month, Musk has taken a vocal stance against the tax increase promoted by part of the Democratic majority in Congress.
Elon Musk has been one of the strongest critics of the Democratic tax plan
In response to a video showing Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen advocating for unrealized capital gains tax—which would impose a tax on asset appreciation of the richest 1%—Musk called American democracy “sclerotic.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has been one of the most vocal advocates within the Democratic Party for a 3% wealth tax on estates exceeding $1 billion and a 2% tax on estates between $50 million and $1 billion.
Within its tax plan, the Biden administration also seeks to incorporate a 15% minimum corporate levy and an income tax increase on Americans earning more than $400,000 that would stand at 39.1%.
Musk has scoffed at all the proposed increases in one way or another, costing him favor with the Biden administration, which will likely benefit Tesla’s competition with subsidies on electric vehicle purchases in the infrastructure plan.
Elon Musk or modern-day John Galt?
While many wealthy people like Jeff Bezos have praised President Biden’s move to tax them more, Musk has been critical and vocal against the Democratic plan.
In his numerous tweets, Musk has denounced the intent to increase the size of the state, and highlighted the farce in the narrative that only the wealthiest Americans will fund this increase. As the debt exceeds 126% of GDP, more Americans will have to pay taxes to support their payments.
Rather than a rich friend of bureaucrats or a businessman completely comfortable with the establishment, Elon Musk is reminiscent of the character in Ayn Rand’s novel, John Galt, a rebellious entrepreneur who questions the status quo and the intentions of the welfare state that American socialists justify under the pretext that the “rich should pay their fair share.”
Economist, writer and liberal. With a focus on finance, the war on drugs, history, and geopolitics // Economista, escritor y liberal. Con enfoque en finanzas, guerra contra las drogas, historia y geopolítica